Vice-Chancellor PhD Scholarship
This is a fully funded scholarship covering tuition fees at the Home/EU rate (£4,260) and an annual stipend of around £14,777.
This is a collaborative project between Manchester Met and English Heritage focusing on the Georgian gardens at two important houses managed by English Heritage: Audley End and Belsay Hall. It offers a new perspective by analysing the English garden as a place of consumption and production rather than simply a designed landscape. The focus is on practical issues of supply, maintenance and productivity, and on the ways in which the garden was shaped around its use by different groups and in turn helped to shape practices and identities.
The English landscape garden is a hugely important cultural icon and England’s major contribution to design history. It presents an idealized view of nature, inspired by 17th century landscape painting, and has frequently been studied in terms of design and aesthetics. These provide important insights, but afford only a partial picture of the landscape garden. It was also a material space, created by the complex interplay of social and economic processes and practices. Much has been gained in recent years by approaching the country house in this way, both in terms of its construction, maintenance and supply, and the identities and behaviour of its owners. This project seeks to deploy a similar approach to the analysis of the garden, tying it to the house methodologically and experientially as well as aesthetically
The project approaches the garden as a site of consumption and aims to investigate the expenditure of landowners on the creation, modification and maintenance of their gardens and to explore how these spaces were used both productively and for pleasure.
This links to a number of related research objectives:
These questions will be drawn together through comparative analysis of two important houses in the care of English Heritage. Both Belsay Hall and Audley End have extensive archival collections, including accounts, receipted bills, plans and design drawings, correspondence, journals, and wage books. These will form the key sources for the research, but the gardens at both houses retain elements of their Georgian gardens and garden buildings, allowing the analysis to link textual and material sources.
The project will be jointly supervised by Prof Jon Stobart from MMU and Dr Andrew Hann from English Heritage, with further support offered by curatorial staff and to site staff and volunteers at both Audley End and Belsay Hall. The project includes a total of fifteen weeks during which the student will be working imbedded at the two properties and the EH office in London. During these periods, the student will work with curatorial staff to disseminate some of their research findings to site staff and volunteer guides. They will also have an opportunity to contribute towards the development of new interpretative schemes planned for both sites.
The project has the potential to form a landmark study in garden history, offering important new insights and shifting the debate into new areas. It impacts on academic research in three key ways:
The project links closely with the current English Heritage research strategy. It addresses three core themes:  ‘Understanding the National Picture’ – addressed by exploring thematic links between sites and to wider considerations of design, supply and use of gardens;  ‘Peopling the Past’ – by introducing human stories into the history of EH sites;  ‘Developing the Assets’ – through informing and supporting re-presentation projects at EH sites.
In this respect, the project is particularly timely as both Audley End and Belsay Hall are scheduled for major investment and new interpretive programmes in the next five years. The research undertaken in this project will thus provide invaluable material that will directly feed into this process and play an important part in shaping the future interpretation of the properties. The student will be closely involved in these initiatives and thus in the future interpretation of the two gardens.
In addition to an excellent honours degree and a good MA degree on a relevant topic, candidates should have good knowledge of the Georgian period and experience of archival research (e.g. inventories, accounts, plans, correspondence). Knowledge of the historiography of consumption and/or garden history would also be beneficial.
As a collaborative project with English Heritage, this involves close engagement with the study gardens as heritage sites/attractions. Prospective students should therefore be interested in developing the public history element of their work and learning about the heritage sector.
This opportunity is open to UK and EU applicants
Informal enquiries can be made to:
Professor Jon Stobart, email@example.com, +44 (0)161 247 3004.
The quickest and most efficient way to apply for this course is to apply online. This way, you can also track your application at each stage of the process.
Please quote the reference: ArtsHums-JS-2019-1.
You must also complete the additional Postgraduate Research Degree Supplementary Information document and upload it to the Student documents section of your online application.
Midnight, 18 February 2019
Interviews are likely to take place in the week commencing 12 March.